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What ‘Hacks’ star Megan Stalter thinks Kayla does after leaving work

"She’d go to Paris 'just for a couple of days' on the weekend," Stalter said of her 'Hacks' character. "She's a party girl."
Megan Stalter and Paul W. Downs as Kayla and Jimmy on "Hacks."
Megan Stalter and Paul W. Downs as Kayla and Jimmy on "Hacks."HBO Max

"Hacks" is a show about odd couples.

The HBO Max series is fueled by the collaboration and clashes between Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder), the acerbic famed comic and the Gen-Z writer she hires to revamp her material.

Deborah and Ava's agent, Jimmy (Paul W. Downs, who co-created the series), is in an odd pairing of his own.

Jimmy is effectively trapped with Kayla (Megan Stalter), his incompetent yet charming assistant, who interferes more than she actually assists.

Kayla and Jimmy's hotel visit goes awry in Season One of "Hacks."
Kayla and Jimmy's hotel visit goes awry in Season One of "Hacks."HBO Max

Season Two of “Hacks,” out May 12, sees Jimmy and Kayla’s relationship pushed to the corporate limits after landing in the HR office, following Kayla’s attempt to stay in the same hotel room as her boss. As Jimmy put it to Ava, “I’m in the middle of a Me Too situation with Kayla, and I’m the ‘Me,’ Ava!”

In a show about comedians, Kayla is responsible for some of season two's most laugh-out-loud moments — and that comes down to Stalter, with her. Kayla marks Stalter’s first scripted role after rising to fame during the pandemic for her front-facing videos shared on social media, in which she plays other equally zany characters.

TODAY spoke to Stalter about Kayla's Season Two journey, and what her life is like outside the office.

TODAY: How would you describe Kayla’s Season Two journey? Do you think there’s growth involved for her?

Meg: I think Season Two is really exciting for a lot of different reasons. For Kayla specifically, I think there’s a lot of growth with her and an evolution of her and Jimmy’s friendship (laughs). I think she loves him a lot and he really cares about her. They get a lot of sweet moments. I feel like you haven’t gotten to see that side of her. All the crazy funny stuff sets it up to be really moving.

You play a lot of characters. How do you get to know them?

My favorite character it to play is someone who’s really nervous and really confident at the same time. All of the characters I like to do are people that are about to lose it but are acting like everything is fine. The house is burning but they have a smile on their face. I think that Kayla truly believes that she is really special and she can do no wrong. The part of me that is similar to Kayla is that I feel special and I love myself a lot. I think she does too.

Every character you play, part of it, is who you are deep down. The bad parts come from parts you’re working on or. All my characters are either me or someone I know and love. I don’t think you can do characters that you don’t love in some sort of way. Unless you play an evil villain. 

Maybe that’s in your future one day.

I would love to play an evil villain. But even if you’re playing a villain there has to be something that humanizes them. No one’s all good or bad. There are still some of you in that character.

That’s so much of what this season is about — Deborah has so many layers to her. Your character doesn’t get much one-on-one time with Deborah. Do you hope for more Kayla-Deborah time in the future?

Any amount of time that Kayla would get with Deborah, she’d love to take it. I’d love for them to take a weekend trip somewhere. A small amount of time where they can bond. I think Kayla, of course, wants to hang out with Deborah. Deborah would get stuck hanging out with Kayla. I would love to see them in a hot tub or on vacation. A shopping day. One day. 

Imagine.

The only scene they were in together was at the party in season one. It’s such a funny moment because they’re so different. So many people are intimidated by Deborah, but I don’t think Kayla is. She’s like, ‘Hey girl. We work together. We’re at the same company.’

Yeah, 'We’re colleagues.'

Laughs. We’re peers! 

Kayla realizes that she does want to be an assistant. What is Kayla’s destiny, in your mind? And is that something you’re interested in exploring in future seasons? 

Every time I get to read in a script for a scene Kayla’s in, I freak out because I can’t believe I get to do that. The scripts are so funny and perfect.

I think Kayla is driven by her love of Jimmy and wanting to feel like she belongs. She wants his affection and to impress him. She wants to step it up because of the friendship.She doesn’t need money or power — she already has both of those things. Her ultimate dream would be if she and Jimmy live together, either in a mansion or a little apartment. Wherever. She just wants him as a friend and to feel like she belongs.

I imagine there must be so many funny outtakes. Will we ever get a director’s cut? Is there gold out there that didn’t make the final cut?

What’s so incredible about working with Paul, Lucia (Aniello) and Jen (Statsky) is that they have this incredible writer’s room and incredible scripts. But they come from an improved background, so they’ll say, ‘Say this, try this, do something crazy here!” There’s a lot of footage of us yelling different weird, strange things. 

Do you ever think about Kayla’s life outside of the office?

Oh, yeah. I think she probably goes on really crazy trips. She’d go to Paris "just for a couple of days" on the weekend. I think she dates male models. She’s a party girl. She just wants to have fun. She has good intentions. Laughs.

How many more years do you give her in the working world?

That’s such a good question. As long as Jimmy’s there, she’s having fun. She’d stick with him. If it was just any office job, I’d give her six months. The office is a hobby for her. If she wasn’t in love with Jimmy as a friend, she wouldn’t be there for very long.

So theirs is a friendship love.

I think so. But I think she’d be down to hook up. She’s like, whatever. Go with the flow. She doesn’t think of the outcome. I think she looks at Jimmy like, "Hey cutie," but we’re best friends. We’re an old married couple. There’s a deep love that they don’t fully understand.

They have a shared upbringing — their dads founded the agency. 

Right. They’re different but they come from the same place. They’re family but if he was to ever ask her to marry him, she’d be like, ‘Of course.’” 

I want to know her zodiac sign.

So I feel like she’d probably say, "Everyone thinks I’m a Leo but I’m a Taurus."

Can you give us a preview of your upcoming role in ‘Queer as Folk?’

A lot of fun things. I think I can say that I did one scene on that show and it was the most fun day ever, and we couldn’t get through the scene without laughing. We were having too much fun and probably slowed down filming.